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Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

This refreshing Summer Pasta Salad is light, filling, and perfect for a warm sunny day. It's loaded with veggies, tossed in a delicious homemade dressing, and finished off with tangy feta cheese. It's a versatile dish that can be customized with your favorite seasonal vegetables.

Summer Pasta Salad Recipe
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While all ingredients for this recipe can usually be found in your pantry or fridge, the one ingredient that might need a trip to the supermarket is the feta cheese. Feta is a brined curd cheese with a tangy and slightly salty taste, that adds a unique flavor to the salad.

Ingredients for Summer Pasta Salad

Rotini pasta: Rotini is a corkscrew-shaped pasta that holds up well in salads and grabs onto the dressing.

Red onion: Adds a slight bite and vibrant color.

Yellow Pepper: Gives a sweet, slightly tangy flavor.

Zucchini: Adds a mild flavor and crunchy texture.

Grape tomatoes: These add a burst of juicy sweetness.

Carrots: Adds a sweet and crunchy texture.

Corn cob: Fresh corn kernels add a pop of sweetness.

Radish: Radishes provide a peppery bite.

Feta cheese: Feta adds a creamy, tangy element that contrasts the other ingredients.

Herbs: Fresh herbs give the salad a burst of fresh flavor.

Olive oil: For the dressing, provides a rich base.

Apple cider vinegar: Gives the dressing a tangy kick.

Oregano: Adds a warm, slightly bitter taste to the dressing.

Garlic powder: Gives the dressing a savory depth.

Dijon: Adds a tangy, complex flavor to the dressing.

Sugar: Just a touch balances the acidity in the dressing.

One reader, Field Rankin says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This summer pasta salad recipe is a game-changer! The vibrant mix of fresh veggies and zesty dressing creates a burst of flavors in every bite. It's a perfect dish for picnics or BBQs. The colorful presentation and delightful taste make it a hit with everyone. Highly recommended!

Field Rankin

Essential Techniques for Making Summer Pasta Salad

How to cook pasta al dente: Cook the pasta in boiling water for the time indicated on the package, then immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

How to make the dressing: Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper in a mason jar, then shake well to emulsify the ingredients.

How to toss the salad: Combine the cooked and cooled pasta with the chopped vegetables, feta cheese, and herbs in a large bowl, then pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine all the ingredients evenly.

How To Make Summer Pasta Salad

Cool down from the summer heat with this summer pasta salad recipe that you can easily make with garden-fresh veggies and pasta mixed with a tasty dressing!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking:
Total: 20 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 8ozrotini pasta,dry
  • ½cupred onion,slivered
  • 1yellow pepper,diced
  • 1smallzucchini,diced
  • 1cupgrape tomatoes,halved
  • ¾cupcarrots,julienned
  • 1corn cob,grilled
  • ½cupradish,sliced
  • ½cupfeta cheese
  • 2tbspherbs,fresh

For Dressing:

  • ½cupGreat Value organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 3tbspGreat Value organic raw unfiltered apple cider Vinegar
  • ½tspGreat Value organic oregano
  • ½tspGreat Value Organic Garlic Powder
  • 1tbspDijon
  • 1tspsugar
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.

  2. Combine all dressing ingredients In a mason jar and shake well to combine.

  3. Combine pasta and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Top with additional feta cheese and herbs if desired.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 291.06kcal
  • Fat: 16.41g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.45g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.45g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.78g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.61g
  • Fiber: 2.88g
  • Sugar: 4.57g
  • Protein: 6.54g
  • Cholesterol: 8.34mg
  • Sodium: 376.75mg
  • Calcium: 85.39mg
  • Potassium: 333.45mg
  • Iron: 1.83mg
  • Vitamin A: 122.92µg
  • Vitamin C: 52.00mg

Helpful Technique for Perfecting Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

When preparing the summer pasta salad, it's important to cut all your vegetables into similar, bite-sized pieces. This not only ensures even distribution of ingredients in every serving, but also makes the salad easier to eat. Additionally, when making the dressing, shake the ingredients in a mason jar vigorously to emulsify the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. This will create a smooth, well-blended dressing that will coat your pasta and vegetables evenly, enhancing the overall flavor of the salad.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep in advance: Chop and prepare all the vegetables and ingredients ahead of time to streamline the cooking process.

Use pre-cooked ingredients: Utilize pre-cooked rotini pasta and pre-cut vegetables to save time and effort in the kitchen.

Multi-task: While the pasta is cooking, use that time to prepare the dressing and chop the vegetables to maximize efficiency.

Organize your workspace: Keep all the ingredients and utensils within reach to avoid wasting time searching for items during the cooking process.

Follow the recipe: Stick to the recipe to ensure that you're using your time effectively and not making unnecessary steps.

Substitute Ingredients For Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

  • rotini pasta - Substitute with farfalle (bowtie) pasta: Farfalle pasta has a similar shape and texture, making it a suitable substitute for rotini in the salad.

  • red onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder flavor and a hint of garlic, which can work well in place of red onions in the salad.

  • yellow pepper - Substitute with orange pepper: Orange peppers have a similar sweet flavor and crunchy texture, making them a good substitute for yellow peppers in the salad.

  • zucchini - Substitute with yellow squash: Yellow squash has a similar texture and mild flavor, making it a suitable substitute for zucchini in the salad.

  • grape tomatoes - Substitute with cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are similar in size and flavor, making them a great substitute for grape tomatoes in the salad.

  • carrots - Substitute with jicama: Jicama has a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor, making it a unique substitute for carrots in the salad.

  • corn cob - Substitute with canned corn kernels: Canned corn kernels can be a convenient substitute for fresh corn cob, providing a similar sweet and crunchy element to the salad.

  • radish - Substitute with daikon radish: Daikon radish has a milder flavor and a slightly sweeter taste, making it a good substitute for regular radishes in the salad.

  • feta cheese - Substitute with goat cheese: Goat cheese has a tangy flavor and creamy texture, making it a suitable substitute for feta in the salad.

  • herbs - Substitute with Italian seasoning: Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme, which can be a convenient substitute for using individual herbs in the salad.

  • great value organic extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a suitable substitute for extra virgin olive oil in the dressing.

  • great value organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar has a similar tangy flavor and acidity, making it a good substitute for apple cider vinegar in the dressing.

  • great value organic oregano - Substitute with dried basil: Dried basil has a similar herbaceous flavor, making it a suitable substitute for oregano in the dressing.

  • great value organic garlic powder - Substitute with minced garlic: Minced garlic provides a more intense garlic flavor compared to garlic powder, making it a suitable substitute in the dressing.

  • dijon - Substitute with whole grain mustard: Whole grain mustard has a similar tangy and slightly grainy texture, making it a good substitute for Dijon mustard in the dressing.

  • sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can add sweetness and a hint of floral flavor, making it a natural substitute for sugar in the dressing.

How to Beautifully Present Your Summer Pasta Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the pasta salad in a visually appealing manner, using the vibrant colors of the vegetables to create an eye-catching display on the plate.

  2. Incorporate texture: Introduce a variety of textures by ensuring the pasta is cooked perfectly al dente and incorporating crunchy elements such as the fresh vegetables and feta cheese.

  3. Balance the flavors: Ensure that the dressing is evenly distributed, allowing the flavors to meld together harmoniously, creating a burst of freshness with every bite.

  4. Highlight the seasonal produce: Emphasize the freshness of the ingredients by showcasing the vibrant colors and natural beauty of the summer vegetables.

  5. Emphasize the aroma: Infuse the dish with the enticing aroma of the herbs, enhancing the overall sensory experience for the discerning palates of the judges.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Pasta Salad

  • Cooking pot: A large, deep pot used for boiling, stewing, and simmering ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile, all-purpose knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients.
  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen tool with holes used to drain liquids from food.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing ingredients together.
  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Tools used to measure precise amounts of ingredients for recipes.
  • Grater: A tool used to grate or shred ingredients like cheese, vegetables, or citrus zest.
  • Tongs: Kitchen utensils used for gripping and lifting hot pots, pans, and other cookware.
  • Spatula: A flat, flexible kitchen tool used for flipping, spreading, and lifting ingredients.
  • Peeler: A tool used to remove the outer skin or peel from fruits and vegetables.
  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and heating food.
  • Stove: A cooking appliance with burners used for heating and cooking food in pots and pans.
  • Blender: A kitchen appliance used to blend, puree, or emulsify food and other substances.
  • Food processor: A versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, and pureeing ingredients.
  • Grill: A cooking appliance used for grilling and barbecuing food.
  • Skewers: Long, narrow metal or wooden sticks used to hold and cook food over an open flame or heat source.
  • Rolling pin: A cylindrical kitchen tool used to flatten and shape dough for baking.
  • Pastry brush: A kitchen tool with bristles used for spreading butter, oil, or glazes onto food.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and roasting food in the oven.
  • Muffin tin: A baking pan with individual cup-shaped molds used to bake muffins and cupcakes.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pot with a long handle and a lid, used for cooking sauces, soups, and other liquids.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan with sloping sides used for frying, searing, and sautéing food.
  • Grill pan: A heavy-duty pan with raised ridges used for grilling food indoors.
  • Instant-read thermometer: A kitchen tool used to quickly and accurately measure the internal temperature of food.
  • Timer: A device used to measure and track the cooking time of food.

Storing and Freezing Summer Pasta Salad: A Guide

  • This summer pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The flavors will meld together and intensify over time, making it even more delicious the next day.

  • If you plan to make this salad ahead of time, it's best to store the dressing separately and toss it with the pasta and vegetables just before serving. This will prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the pasta salad for up to 2 months. To do this, transfer the salad to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

  • When ready to serve the frozen pasta salad, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Give it a good stir and add a little extra olive oil or dressing to refresh the flavors and moisten the pasta if needed.

  • Keep in mind that the texture of the vegetables may change slightly after freezing and thawing, becoming softer and less crisp. However, the overall taste of the pasta salad should still be enjoyable.

  • If you have any leftover feta cheese, store it separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator and add it to the salad just before serving for the best texture and flavor.

How To Reheat Leftover Summer Pasta Salad

  • Refrigerate the leftover summer pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent the ingredients from drying out or becoming soggy.

  • When ready to reheat, remove the desired portion of pasta salad from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. This will help the salad come to a more palatable temperature and allow the flavors to re-emerge.

  • If the pasta salad seems a bit dry, you can add a splash of olive oil or a small amount of apple cider vinegar to help revive the dressing and keep the ingredients moist.

  • For a quick and easy reheat, place the pasta salad in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high power for 30-45 seconds, or until it reaches your desired temperature. Be sure to stir the salad halfway through the reheating process to ensure even warming.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta salad in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add a small amount of olive oil or water to the pan to prevent sticking and gently stir the salad until it's heated through. This method will help maintain the texture of the vegetables and prevent the pasta from becoming too soft.

  • If you prefer a cold pasta salad, simply remove it from the refrigerator, give it a good stir, and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. You can also add some fresh herbs, feta cheese, or a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors.

  • Lastly, if you find that the pasta salad has absorbed most of the dressing during storage, feel free to whip up a small batch of the original dressing and toss it with the salad before serving. This will help restore the balance of flavors and keep the salad tasting fresh and vibrant.

Interesting Trivia About Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be customized with various vegetables and cheeses to suit individual preferences.

Is Making Summer Pasta Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

This summer pasta salad recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. With a variety of affordable and seasonal ingredients such as pasta, vegetables, and herbs, it offers a budget-friendly option for families. The use of simple pantry staples like olive oil and vinegar keeps the cost low. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-20, making it an economical choice. The overall verdict rating for this recipe is 9/10, considering its affordability, nutritional value, and delicious flavors.

Is Summer Pasta Salad Healthy or Unhealthy?

The summer pasta salad recipe is a nutritious and refreshing dish that incorporates a variety of healthy ingredients. The recipe includes a good balance of complex carbohydrates from the rotini pasta, fiber and vitamins from the assorted vegetables, and protein from the feta cheese. The dressing made with olive oil and apple cider vinegar provides healthy fats and aids in nutrient absorption. The inclusion of herbs adds flavor without relying on excessive salt or unhealthy additives.

To further enhance the nutritional value of this pasta salad, consider the following suggestions:

  • Opt for whole wheat or legume-based pasta to increase the fiber content and provide a slower release of energy
  • Include a lean protein source, such as grilled chicken or chickpeas, to make the salad more satiating and balanced
  • Experiment with additional nutrient-dense vegetables like spinach, bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes to boost the vitamin and mineral content
  • Reduce the amount of feta cheese or replace it with a lower-fat alternative, such as part-skim mozzarella or goat cheese, to decrease the overall fat content
  • Use fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro to infuse the salad with bright flavors and antioxidants

Editor's Opinion on This Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

The summer pasta salad recipe is a delightful combination of fresh and vibrant ingredients, perfectly suited for warm weather. The variety of vegetables, combined with the tangy feta cheese and flavorful dressing, creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. The use of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar adds a unique depth to the dressing, elevating the overall taste profile. This recipe is a wonderful choice for a light and refreshing meal, and the addition of herbs provides a lovely aromatic touch. It's a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish at any summer gathering.

Enhance Your Summer Pasta Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs before grilling to perfection.
Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing: Combine a variety of fresh fruits such as berries, melon, and citrus, then drizzle with a sweet and tangy honey-lime dressing.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken: Rub the chicken with a mixture of lemon, garlic, and herbs before roasting to juicy perfection.
Chilled Cucumber Soup: Blend cucumbers with yogurt, dill, and a hint of garlic for a refreshing and creamy summer soup.
Berry Parfait with Granola: Layer fresh berries with Greek yogurt and crunchy granola for a light and satisfying dessert.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Summer Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs before grilling for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Mango Salsa Chicken: Top grilled chicken with a refreshing salsa made with diced mango, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro for a burst of tropical flavor.
Creamy Avocado Pasta: Blend ripe avocados with garlic, lemon juice, and basil to create a creamy sauce for tossing with cooked pasta for a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Summer Pasta Salad

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with these savory and indulgent stuffed mushrooms. Filled with a rich and creamy mixture, these bite-sized appetizers are sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Bruschetta: Transport your taste buds to Italy with these classic bruschetta appetizers. The combination of fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic on crispy bread is a perfect way to start any meal.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Berry Parfait: Layer juicy mixed berries with creamy vanilla yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and satisfying dessert. The combination of flavors and textures will leave you wanting more!

Why trust this Summer Pasta Salad Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of fresh and vibrant vegetables, such as zucchini, yellow pepper, and grape tomatoes, providing a burst of flavor and nutrients. The addition of feta cheese lends a creamy and tangy element, while the homemade dressing, made with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, enhances the dish with a zesty and aromatic touch. With a harmonious blend of herbs and a perfect balance of textures, this pasta salad promises to be a refreshing and satisfying addition to any summer meal.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this Summer Pasta Salad Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
FAQ:
Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely make this pasta salad ahead of time. In fact, it's even better when the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Just store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
Can I substitute any of the vegetables in this recipe?
Absolutely! Feel free to customize this pasta salad with your favorite vegetables. You can add or substitute any vegetables based on your preference or what's in season.
How long will the dressing last in the refrigerator?
The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just give it a good shake before using it, as the ingredients may separate over time.
Can I use a different type of pasta for this salad?
Yes, you can use a different type of pasta if you prefer. Fusilli, penne, or farfalle would all work well in this recipe.
Can I make this pasta salad vegan?
Absolutely! To make this pasta salad vegan, simply omit the feta cheese or use a plant-based alternative. The dressing is already vegan-friendly, so it's an easy adjustment to make.

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